As many of you know I am in the midst of editing and revising two projects. Yes, I’m mad! The first is the prequel to my fantasy series, Malgraf’s Dawning. It is currently being beta-read and revisions are coming back to me chapter by chapter. The other is a western romance manuscript, Willow Tree Tears, that until recently, had languished in my ‘to do’ folder for quite some time.
As authors and writers, we have to refine, revise and rewrite our manuscripts to ensure they are ready to submit. As we all know though, some will slip through the cracks – we have all read books and noticed slip-ups in every book we read. So let’s look at the editing process:
Editing encompasses several elements in order to achieve a well-polished manuscript for submission. Editing includes among other things, continuity, grammar, spelling, character development, revisions to scenes etc. the list is long and sometimes overwhelming.
Where should you start?
Instead of plunging directly back into a first draft, let it sit for a while. Start another project, take a rest, whatever you need to tear yourself away from the world and the characters you created. Ideally, leave it for three to six months, depending on any deadlines you have, of course. This will allow you to ‘see; it with fresh eyes.
When you go back to re-read there will be new insights. Rather than overwhelming yourself with trying to ‘correct’ all the editing elements mentioned above, concentrate on one item at a time.
Limit each read through to a specific task.
When you have completed these tasks let either trusted friends, or members of your local writing group read it. Take note of their suggestions and correct any errors they may find. Remember, no matter how many times you or your beta readers go through a manuscript, there will always be a word missed, mis-spelt, or a continuity slip up. Once this is done it is time to consider handing over the manuscript to a professional. A professional editor is a good investment, if you can afford one. A badly edited book reflects on you the author and no-one else.
Here are a couple of tricks that can help you edit more effectively:
Read the book from back to front page by page. This stops your brain putting in words that are not there.
Read it out aloud to yourself or an understanding friend. A missed word is very obvious with this technique.
Go through the manuscript correcting one area at a time, instead of everything, which can become overwhelming. Such as spelling, or continuity.
When editing there may be sentences, or even whole paragraphs, that you know need to be revised, or even omitted from the manuscript to help with the flow of the story line, or scene. Deleting these can be hard. There are different opinions on what to do with these revisions, but I think they should be saved in a separate document until you are absolutely sure you do want to delete them and even then you may keep them as a record of how the scene developed. A writer’s jetsam so to speak. These ejected words from our narratives may dwell in our hard drives or document folders for months, sometimes years. They may even be useful if at some point in the future you decide to use them in a sequel!
Without correcting and improving, our creations will not be polished and worthy of reading and that is the one thing we all want – our work to be read and enjoyed.
As we come to the close of the year – 2022 – I would like to know what you would like to see on this blog in 2023. I can keep the same regularly themed twice weekly posts, or do something completely different. I am always looking to engage readers and writers alike in my blog community.
Shall I continue with Bibliophile Collective Tuesday’s and Wordsmith Collective Thursday’s or change it up?
What do you want to see, read, interact about?
Is there something I have not covered or included you wish I did?
It was a hot August day, and I was sitting on my back deck when, seemingly out of nowhere, I felt overwhelmed with emotions and heard a whisper, “stories to be told”. With a bit of an attitude, I thought, “Okay, if this is God, I’ve already shared my story. It was hard, but I did it. How often do I have to share?”
Again, a gentle whisper was felt; “stories to be told.” The scene before me, which was my backyard, turned into a black and white scene, as if it were an old movie reel. Within the scene was a young lady on her knees, sobbing. You could feel the emotion radiating out of what I was seeing. It lasted a second, but I knew who the person was and what the reminder was. Years ago, the young woman was me crying out to the God I told myself I didn’t believe in.
I knew then what the message was. Stories, as in many stories, needed to be told. So I reached out to a few ladies I knew and asked if they’d like to participate in an anthology I was considering putting together. They said yes. I reached out to a few more ladies, and they said yes. I soon had 20 women who wanted to share their stories of Grace. But it didn’t stop there. More women reached out, and I soon realized this would be more than one book. It turned into a 3-book series, with all three published within 12 months. As time went on, another nudge was received: to share Hope and my newest release, When Hope Found Me was born.
Has writing them given you a new perspective or mission or aided you in some way?
Oh, my yes. Once this journey of coordinating anthologies began, I realized that there is so much darkness and negativity in the world on TV, radio, social media, and within neighborhoods and communities. Seeing and hearing about negative things each day becomes tiring and emotionally draining.
God again nudged me to share, and the word Hope showed up.
The word Hope had been showing up everywhere for weeks at the end of 2021. Finally, I realized that I was to do something with that word.
I bought some inspirational cards, just the small kind, and began leaving them in random places in stores when I would be out and about. You know the kind, “You are amazing!”, “You are awesome!”. But I felt that I needed to do something else. Something more personal.
I then went online and found polished stones with the word Hope engraved on them. So I thought, “Okay, here we go. I’ll call them Nuggets of Hope!”
So now, I carry a few of those Nuggets of Hope wherever I go, and when I feel a nudge to approach someone, I’ll walk up to the person and quietly say, “I’ve got a small gift for you, a nugget of hope.” And I’ll place it in their hand, wish them a blessed day and be on my way. I don’t feel I am to talk with them but to hand them a small nugget of Hope and be on my way.
That is now a part of my mission, choosing to sprinkle Hope like confetti. One nugget of Hope at a time.
How else do you spread your words and experiences?
Over the past few years, I have started a podcast called Let Fear Bounce. It is an interview-style show where I have guests from all over the world and from different walks of life share their journey, be it writing, teaching, coaching, or simply having an amazing story or experience to share. I feel blessed to be able to provide a platform for others to share their nuggets of Hope.
What message do you have for your readers?
I hope they feel a spark of something when they read through any of the books. Maybe it will be inspiration or admiration. Perhaps it will be motivation to change something for the better in their own life. Or maybe the stories will spark something inside and provide them a bit of hope; for themselves, humanity, and their family, whatever the case may be. I want readers to FEEL and know that there is hope, goodness, and kindness in the world.
Do you think there are enough resources for sufferers of PTSD?
If you had asked me that question 10 years ago, even five years ago, I would say no.
I prefer to steer clear of the word “suffer.” For me, I choose to say, “live with PTSD.” Because you do, your experience has played a big part in who you are and who you will become. Living with PTSD is a part of you, and you of it. It’s a significant life experience. It is all in how you face and deal with it that matters.
Is it easy? No. Is it worth facing and finding safe and healthy ways to live with it? Yes. Because then you can turn that into a message to help others.
Are there enough resources out there to help all of those who live with PTSD? Maybe not, but great strides have been made. Over the years, I have seen many new programs, counselors, and assistance available, especially for women. I believe that more will become available in the future.
When you began writing, what was the hardest part?
The most difficult part of the process was being authentic. What I mean by that is sharing the whole story. Not just bits and pieces worded in a particular way so as not to make the reader uncomfortable.
I realized that I just needed to be open and honest. Share what was on my heart and share that in a way that was true to me, and hopefully, those who read my words will feel something.
Where is your favorite place to write?
It turns out my dining room table is the place where I typically write. Not sure why; it is just where I end up. I have my days, though, that on a beautiful summer day, I’ll haul my laptop outside and let nature speak to me, and I let words flow.
Do you have plans for future books?
Indeed I do! I have two books I am currently working on. We’ll see where they take me. There are always stories to be write and words to share that inspire!
What does the word ‘rescue’ mean to you?
Being pulled from the darkness. A place where you feel lost and unable to see or feel joy or light. When a person, a book, a song, or a pet provides a spark of light. That small light enters into your darkness, and you lift your eyes. That is a rescue to me. So many rescuers out there aren’t aware of what they have provided. How blessed we are that they exist!
Kim is a multi-published author, writer, podcast host of Let Fear Bounce, and TV show host of The Write Stuff, The Authors Voice with the Believe In Your Dreams TV Network.
In addition, she is an active speaker sharing her story of being a female veteran living with PTSD and spreading a message of Hope. She regularly speaks for local veteran and women’s organizations in her hometown area and across numerous global organizations.
She has been writing and speaking with empathy and emotion since 2004 showcasing her faith, nature, love of rescue animals, and advocacy for veterans living with PTSD. She showcases her writing through her books, business, and website; www.kimlenglingauthor.com.
She is the lead author and coordinator of a collaborative 3-book anthology series titled When Grace Found Me. In addition, she is a published co-author in seven anthologies and numerous print and online global newspapers and magazines.
Kim sees each day as an opportunity to spread hope and encouragement, for, without hope, life would be a dark place.
“The world can be a dark place. So I choose to toss nuggets of hope out into the world like confetti; little sparks of light in the darkness.”
Many of us are in the heady first few days of this crazy writing challenge. Time away from our projects is ‘wasted’ time and the pull to immerse ourselves into our new stories is strong. It is our new shiny thing, and we want to spend time with it. We begin to know our characters and their plight, and the tale becomes more real in our minds.
So, my question is, are you brave enough to share your first paragraph? We all know that in the editing process it may not be structured the same, or even part of the novel at all. Let’s see what everyone is writing.
If you regularly read this blog, you know I am creating the last book in a crime trilogy. Killers Match will conclude The Delphic Murders series.
So, I will take a deep breath and expose my unedited, rough first paragraph.
Edmonton was in the grip of winters freezing temperatures, icy roads and sidewalks and snowplowed windrows on every street. Multiple traffic accidents kept the local police patrols busy and ice related falls crowded the hospital waiting rooms. It is in such an emergency room, amid the overpowering aroma of chemicals, vomit, blood and sweat that we find Avril Finn, gritting her teeth as she tries to convince a heavy bodied nurse she is indeed a police detective.
Come on, be brave. Let’s cheer each other on!
Good luck to you all with new projects, whether NaNo related or not.
I am again plunging into NaNoWriMo this year. I should concentrate on book three of my crime trilogy, The Delphic Murders – Killers Match, but as with all things writing it might be secondary to another ‘bright and shiny project’ – a prequel to my Rython series. I am excited to begin Malgraf’s journey in the novella entiitled Malgraf’s Dawning. So once the 25,000 or so words of that story/novella are completed, I will ‘finish’ NanWriMo with the beginning book three.
Who says writer’s can’t be flexible. Truth be told new ideas are always the shiniest prospect, we are essentially magpies.
I would love to hear about your project for NaNoWriMo this year. And you can always add me as a buddy on the website. Look up MandyB
Good luck , happy writing and see you on the other side.